This week, Dorman participated in a (so-named) "Somewhat Virtual Book Club." We had five anxious and excited teens from Dorman, Tara Smith, teen librarian from the SCPL Westside Branch, and myself to join up in our library this past Wednesday evening to connect via Skype with six other high schools from across the US. Our plan was to discuss the John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars. I must say while some of the schools in the virtual group experienced serious technical glitches, we seemed to have very few. We could hear and we could see. There were times where feedback from some of the groups was a problem--not sure who--but overall our experience was good. Also at times our individual groups all talked simultaneously, and it became impossible to tell who was speaking to everyone and who was speaking to just their own site group. Yikes. Using a mixture of texting/chatting to let the group know when our DHS students wanted to comment or pose ideas and interpretations, we were able to share some great insights about the book, the title, its parallels to real life, parallels to other literature, the writing style, and more.
Our kids made some solid contributions to the discussion, and I must say that Tyler, Tabitha, and Mitchell just amazed me with their interpretations and connections with this novel. We were slightly disappointed that the author was unable to join. There was a true effort on the part of all the host librarians via twitter and other social networking avenues to talk him into joining us.
Here is one shot of our group (from behind of course.) Sorry about the bad quality photo--I was trying to hurry to get a photo using my iPhone and get back to helping facilitate. I must thank my school and Sam Vezina, our technician who got us all squared away for this evening. Even though yesterday had me worrying (and overreacting), I had access to Skype as needed for the virtual get together. I am very thankful and lucky to have such supportive coworkers and colleagues!! Team effort for sure!
Special thanks to Shannon Miller of Van Meter Schols in Van Meter, Iowa who using her Premium level Skype account, orchestrated the pulling in of all the groups--seven in all from the following schools:
- Dorman High School, Roebuck, SC
- Van Meter Community Schools, Van Meter, IA
- New Canaan High School, New Canaan, CT
- Mira Costa High School, Manhatten Beach, CA
- Springfield Township High School, Springfield Township, PA
- James Caldwell High School, West Caldwell, NJ
- and one more--oh YIKES, apologies friends but I have no where the other group was from! It will probably come to my mind as soon as I post.
Cathy Nelson, NBCT, Teacher Librarian
Dorman High School